It’s been a real Tasmanian highlands early spring, with everything from the usual heavy snow falls to the odd glorious blue sky day, so it’s no wonder that the fishing has been hot and cold.
All methods have been very quiet in the Bradys chain though, with fish being very few and far between as the last of the spring cold works its way out of the system. The water levels in Pine Tier have receded from the very high levels of the first few months of the season but it hasn’t worried the fish with some great early morning and afternoon fishing to tailing fish being had.
December is a great month with everything happening, you will still find reliable fishing to tailers, the tiny caenid mayfly hatches are in full swing, the larger highland mayfly are appearing and the fish will also be homing in on the damsels, both the nymphs and the adults.
Meadowbank was stocked with 600 Atlantic salmon averaging around the 2.5kg mark in mid- October so the opportunity is there to get hooked up to a trophy fish and have a great feed of fish as a result. Most fish will be taken by trollers but there is also a good chance of getting stretched with fly gear. I’ve often polarized salmon while fishing to caenid feeders along the deeper drop offs and channels here, I’ve always had something like a size 16 dry on at the time but these fish will take a large Woolly Bugger of Fuzzle Bugger. Blind casting around the points and old river bed drop offs will also be worth a try.
I’ll be visiting Lake Meadowbank in December to see if the fish switch onto the caenids this year, unfortunately my favourite water and fly hatch hasn’t lived up to expectations for several years now, my fingers are crossed. Cluny Lagoon, Lake Repulse, Lake Catagunya and Wayatinah Lagoon are the next storages up river from Meadowbank. They all offer very good fishing in some nice scenery, they are better known as bait and lure waters but Cluny and Wayatinah are also nice fly fishing waters, Wayatinah has a great spinner hatch, Cluny fish rise well to chironomids.
The premier destination in the region and rightly so. Expect to find tailers in the mornings and evenings on the grassy sloping shores, we always seem to find good numbers of fish around the Red Rocks and up and around Bull Rush Point at this time of the year. Mornings and evening are best of course but plenty of times along this shore on dull days I’ve found fish tailing and cruising around in the middle of the day. Tailers Bay is a good area also, it features a good caenid hatch at times, I’ve even found reasonable numbers of fish feeding on caenid in the evenings at Tailers which is a bit unusual; caenid fishing is usually a morning affair.
The Bronte fish also really home in on the adult damsels, they can be very frustrating but with persistence we have caught a few on Chernobyl Ants and a great foam Damsel Fly imitation from New Zealand. On calm warm evenings there should be plenty of caddis fly around also to get the trout interested. The road shore of Bronte and the point of the Rainbow End will be a good place to find spinner feeders on those hopefully beautiful light variable wind days, a CDC or synthetic winged parachute black spinner pattern is the go, if they are on the duns, you can’t do any better than a Possum Emerger or a Brett Wolff Emerger.
The Dee will really start to fire in December with good wind lane fishing to chironomid and caenid feeders. I always start off with a small Iron Blue Dun for both then progressing through a few different small parachute hackled dries, mainly Adams variants if the Iron Blue fails. On hot windy days there could also be a few late gum beetles around from the late spring hatch.
What an ideal water it is. St Clair Lagoon is a wonderful fly fishery, you will find early morning and evening tailers and good black spinner rises in fine weather, also keep an eye on the Frankland Beaches of the main lake, good fish love to cruise here, great polarizing on a blue sky day as it is in the Lagoon.
Pine Tier really is a great all round fishery, fantastic trolling and shore-based and drift spinning and nice shallows for the fly fisher who loves to cast to sighted fish. The little squeakers can be a nuisance but there are some very good fish amongst them. The hardest part is, as the weeds grow and the water recedes is keeping the better fish out of the weeds after they are hooked.
Launch your boat at the southern end of the lagoon and head straight up to the northern end, it’s far more appealing, it’s good lure fishing throughout the Lagoon but the northern end is the better area for drift spinning and fly fishing, you can expect to find good fish in close morning and evening and rising fish a bit further out during the day.
I hope everyone has a great Christmas and New Year and please feel free to send a photo or two with a short description of the capture of those Southern Highlands fish.Reads: 747